Illinois law clearly states that a person cannot legally operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated by alcohol or a controlled substance. If you are charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you face fines, jail time, the suspension of your driver's license, and a non-expungable crime on your record. If convicted, DUI charges affect your life long after your trial ends.
The legal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit to operate a motor vehicle in Illinois is 0.08 percent for most drivers, 0.04 percent for commercial drivers, and 0.00 percent for minors. The state has an Implied Consent Law, which means that by choosing to drive you have given your consent for law enforcement to take a blood, breath, or urine sample upon your arrest if they have probable cause to do so. If you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, your driver's license is put under immediate summary suspension for six months.
If you are charged with DUI, the most important call you can make is to an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer. At Dolci & Weiland, our lawyers have over 45 years of combined experience, and we can create a customized defense strategy for your case, exploring all your legal options.
For a first offense DUI conviction, you face both administrative and criminal penalties. Administrative penalties include suspension or revocation of your driver's license and suspension of your vehicle registration. You must pay fees to have your driver's license reinstated.
A first offense DUI is a Class A Misdemeanor. You could serve up to 364 days in jail and pay fines up to $2,500. You will permanently have a DUI on your criminal record.
If you plead guilty, the judge may sentence you to court supervision. If you abide by all the Court's conditions, you can avoid a conviction on your record.
A second DUI conviction carries more severe administrative and criminal penalties than a first offense. Administrative penalties include suspension or revocation of your driver's license and suspension of your vehicle registration. You must pay fees to have your driver's license reinstated.
Second offense DUI is also a Class A Misdemeanor but has a mandatory minimum of five days in jail or 240 hours of community service and fines up to $2,500.
A third DUI conviction is a Class 2 Felony. You could serve between three and seven years in prison or a minimum of 10 days in jail, 48 months probation, and 480 hours of community service. Your driver's license is revoked for 10 years and your vehicle registration is suspended. Fines may be up to $25,000. Penalties increase if your BAC is over 0.16 percent.
A fourth offense DUI is also a Class 2 Felony. If you are convicted, your driving privileges are revoked for life and your vehicle registration is suspended. You could serve between three and seven years in prison and fines up to $25,000. If your BAC was over 0.16 percent, your fines could increase by $5,000, and if you were transporting a person under age 16, you could face an additional $25,000 in fines.
A fifth DUI conviction is a Class 1 Felony. Like a fourth DUI offense, you face lifetime driver's license revocation and suspension of your vehicle registration. Criminal penalties include four to 15 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. If your BAC was over 0.16 percent, your fines increase by $5,000, and if you were transporting a person under age 16, you could pay an additional $25,000.
Sixth or Subsequent Offense
A sixth or subsequent DUI conviction is a Class X Felony. Along with lifetime driver's license revocation and vehicle registration suspension, you face six to 30 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
Aggravated DUI charges have more severe penalties than standard DUI charges. Illinois law lists 10 circumstances that elevate a case to Aggravated DUI. These include:
- Third or subsequent DUI offense
- DUI while operating a school bus
- Children under age 16 in the car at the time of the DUI arrest
- Causing a car accident which leads to great bodily harm
- Causing a car accident with injuries in a school zone
- Causing a fatal car accident
- Prior conviction for involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence
- DUI arrest while your driver's license is suspended or driving without a license
- DUI arrest in an uninsured vehicle
- DUI arrest in a vehicle-for-hire
If you are arrested for DUI and one of these circumstances applies, you face mandatory minimum jail times and higher fines.
Illinois has a Zero Tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. This means that a person under age 21 can be charged with any amount of alcohol in their system. Penalties vary based on the driver's age and BAC.
Controlled Substance DUI
Illinois law prohibits a driver from operating a motor vehicle while impaired by any intoxicating compound listed within the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. This includes illegal drugs and prescription medications. The DUI penalties are the same as alcohol DUI, but you may face additional charges for Possession of a Controlled Substance.
Illinois law considers a person with a commercial driver's license intoxicated if their BAC is 0.04 percent or higher. If convicted of a first offense, you face a one-year driver's license suspension in addition to criminal and administrative penalties. For a second offense, your commercial driver's license could be suspended for up to 10 years.
If you are a non-resident and your driver's license is from a state other than Illinois, you could lose your privilege of driving in Illinois for life if you are convicted of a fourth or subsequent DUI. Any DUI will be reported to your home state, and your home state could issue penalties as if the DUI occurred there. The Illinois Secretary of State may put a "hold" on your driver's license so you cannot renew it until you take steps to have the "hold" removed.
An out-of-state DUI can affect your ability to drive in Illinois. Your Illinois driver's license can be revoked if you refuse to submit to alcohol testing during a DUI traffic stop or if you are convicted of an out-of-state DUI. You must request a hearing with the Secretary of State to have your driver's license reinstated.
Have You Been Charged with DUI in Chicago or DuPage County?
If you have been charged with DUI in Chicago or DuPage County, Illinois, you need an experienced legal team to build the strongest defense for you. At Dolci & Weiland, our lawyers understand that the stakes are high and we will explain all your legal options to you. Fill out our online contact form or call one of our offices today--dial (630) 261-9098 for our DuPage office, or (312) 238-9007 for our Chicago office.